Collaboration | Community | Connection 
May - June Newsletter 2019
Local Projects & Opportunities
Are you interested in exploring people and place?
Wondering where might you begin?

Take Three – Berwickshire, Strathspey & Leith, Oh My!

On Saturday 15 June at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, there will be group sessions with three writers who have dug into Leith, Strathspey and the Eastern Borders/Berwickshire to explore how the culture of these places link with the people who live there – past, present and future.

Tim Bell , author of Choose Life. Choose Leith ’; Chris Halliday , author of ‘ Strathspey Myths and Legends ’ and Mike Fraser , author of a new study on John Mackay Wilson’s ‘ Tales of the Borders’ are the explorers, with questions and connections fielded by TRACS.

TRACS Place based projects are inspired by the Scottish International Storytelling Festival , offering in-situ storytelling across the country, highlighting the close links stories have with local tradition, landscape and history, and funded through the PLACE Programme, a partnership between the Scottish Government – through Creative Scotland – the City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals .

Details of some of the projects taking shape are below, with plenty more opportunities to take ownership of your community utilising its stories.
Gaelic Landscapes – Cairngorms

TRACS continues to work with the Cairngorm’s National Park and the National Field Studies Council to showcase how storytelling can bring environmental understanding to all.

This includes accessing the vital Gaelic language heritage of the area, which is the bearer of so much local knowledge, especially in relation to the local environment and landscape.

Check out ‘Legends, Nature and Landscape’ which is the next residential programme led by Roddy MacLean who will enlighten and inspire with indigenous knowledge from Friday 28 – Sunday 30 June at the picturesque Glenmore Lodge in Aviemore.

Suitable for Fluent Gaelic-speakers and learners of the language are also particularly welcome.

Roddy Maclean (Ruairidh MacIlleathain) is a Gaelic broadcaster, author, educator and storyteller, based in Inverness. 
Words on the Street – Edinburgh

Edinburgh locals and visitors may have noticed the blissful atmosphere now available on the High Street around the Scottish Storytelling Centre with Scotland’s capital the first UK city to take part in the Open Streets initiative, opening streets to people and closing them to cars.

The first session (Sun 5 May) was a great success , with people able to stroll around, enjoy the amazing views from the Croun o the Causie (middle of the road), and explore the closes, and it was wonderful to see youngsters reclaiming the space for play and improvised routines. The Scottish Storytelling Centre was open, offering literary tours of the fascinating Netherbow Area, in coordination with Edinburgh City of Literature, and one of three reading havens with free books, with the same programme planned for the next session on Sunday 2 June.

This autumn, TRACS will be working with local people in Lochend and Restalrig – where James Ritchie collected street songs and rhymes for ‘ The Singing Street ’ and ‘ Golden City ’ – to ask what ‘the words on the pavie’ are nowadays?

Finding the answers will be Macastory Fergus McNicol and Ron Fairweather – who will tune into the contemporary street lore, record it and present local performances for the community. The finale of their project will be an event on a hopefully car-free High Street during the Scottish International Storytelling Festival (18-31 October).  
Scotland-Arctic Conversation – Dumfries & Galloway

Scotland and the Arctic are the focus of a Dumfries and Galloway Place based project, kicking off this autumn from 17-19 October .

Not only were there three prominent 19th century polar explorers from Dumfries and Galloway (Sir John Ross, his nephew Sir James Clark Ross, and Sir John Richardson), the two regions are annually connected by thousands of migrating geese which land in the coastal wetlands.

The aim of ‘Scotland and the Arctic: A Conversation’ is to explore these connections as a source for contemporary creativity and exchange.

The project is being curated by Dumfriesshire poet and storyteller, Tom Pow with partners including Glasgow University Dumfries Campus , The Stove Network , Peter Pan Moat Brae House , Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre , Caerlaverock Wetland Trust (WWT), and the Scottish International Storytelling Festival .
Hamish Henderson Showcased at TRACS Summer School 
TRACS is delighted to announce that its 2019 Summer School is devoted to the continuing legacy of Hamish Henderson in his centenary year.
Scotland’s Revival: The Hamish Henderson Summer School ’ will run from Wednesday 31 July – Friday 2 August and includes an opening ceilidh; Alexander Moffat’s art exploring Henderson and the Folk Revival, as well as sessions on music and song, politics and poetry, storytelling and locally grounded culture.

The Summer School will bring together experts on each topic with creative panache and the opportunity to experience the full flow of Scotland’s carrying stream of culture.

Booking will be available from early June. If you’d like to be notified email us .
Voice, Identity & Belonging
Personal voice is what links language, storytelling and song. Every voice should be heard, and in this UNESCO Year of Indigenous Languages , TRACS is showcasing Gaelic and Scots for all.


On Saturday 1 June , TRACS will explore the unique Scottish voices of Sheila Stewart and Stanley Robertson in a workshop led by Jess Smith and James Spence .
Sheila and Stanley were from Scotland’s Travelling People, steeped in both Scots and Gaelic sources, and their great artistic contribution was to pass on for future generations their identities, culture and character. Jess and James learnt from these masters and in turn, are ready to share their approach, in full voice.
In Conversation

In her new book, Johanna explores Why Gardens Matter, which brings together a lifetime of study and personal experience to highlight garden benefits for our modern society. Reaching back through the centuries, she explores how richly layered our contemporary response to both making and enjoying gardens has become and provides unique insight into how the outdoors can help us find calm in this increasingly busy world. Part of A Year of Conversation .
Gaelic Podcast

A series of podcasts featuring contemporary Gaelic storytellers, produced by the Scottish Storytelling Forum , are currently in the making and will be featured on the TRACS website soon, with traditional tales and contemporary stories from talents including Ruairidh MacLean , Ariel Killick , Martin MacIntyre and Ruairidh Graham .  

Further podcasts and workshops featuring Gaelic and Scots are planned throughout the year, including a special Gaelic Day during the Scottish International Storytelling Festival .

TRACS is grateful for the support of Comhairle nan Leabhraichean (The Gaelic Books Council) and Bòrd na Gàidhlig for the Gaelic podcast series.
The Art of Treepling
7-9 June | Edinburgh
'I've always felt that traditional dance and music are incredibly powerful, as evidenced by their sustained existence over many decades and centuries! In Scotland, I've been heartened by the rich robustness around these indigenous cultural forms. Over the course of the 8-month First Footing residency, I've been developing work that focuses on historical examples and the creative possibilities of traditional dance in Scotland, while also drawing on traditional step dance vocabulary from many geographies, including Canada, Ireland and the Appalachian region of the United States, to encounter step dance as a living cultural practice.

'Above all, I'm interested in bringing Scottish treepling into dialogue with other styles of percussive dance and folk music, spreading awareness of it as a form, and opening step dance as a nexus of new creative possibility.'  ( Nic Gareiss )

With 3 Masterclasses in Dance from Nic Gareiss , Sandy Silva and Colin Dunne , a Masterclass for Musicians to engage with dancers , Nic’s Residency Showcase , Panel Discussions on Treepling featuring expert contributors Dr. Mats Melin , Paul Burns , Alison Carlyle , Nicola Marshall , Dr. Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain and Dr. Lori Watson , and a showcase in performance , as well as an exploration of the Migration Dance Film Project – don’t miss a beat and get booked in for toe-tapping inspiration!
Scottish Storytelling Forum's National Development Day
Save the Date: Saturday 7 September - Stirling
The annual SSF Development Day will take place in Stirling on Saturday 7 September.

Save the date if you are a professional storyteller, aspiring storyteller or simply interested in connecting and supporting the scene in Scotland.

It's a great way to network and meet like-minded tellers. Keep an eye on the website for speakers and further information as it develops.

The Scottish Storytelling Forum's AGM will also be held on this date. Active forum members can vote and nominate for the SSF's committee.

Published at the end of each month, the SSF blog series hopes to introduce you to the many different strands within the storytelling scene in Scotland and beyond. 

This month, we hear from Rebecca Wojturska , lover of all things Gothic, founder of Haunt Publishing and creator of a new audiobook that celebrates all forms of oral storytelling throughout Scotland. The first collection focuses on chilling Gothic horror.

The Why Factor is a series that searches for the extraordinary and hidden histories behind the everyday, and there is an insightful episode to listen into entitled Why Stories Matter? – which acknowledges how we've been telling stories to each other for millennia to help us make sense of the world!

Lots of great insights and John Yorke, drama and storytelling consultant, reveals the myth that has supposedly been around the longest...
Music Musings from the TMF
The World's Room

The monthly traditional song club concludes its current season with Malinky’s Mark Dunlop at The Waverley Bar on Friday 14 June .

Antrim-born Mark is a strong traditionalist from a musical family and has been singing in company for 20 years.

Entry by donation (suggest £5/£4).
The European Folk Network & Music Tourism 

The European Folk Network is planning its first conference in Brussels in November , which is exciting for bringing together organisations in support of traditional music.

Newcastle University conducted a report, exploring Music Tourism in Scotland , which was supported by the TMF, and their findings indicate that music tourism can provide widespread economic and cultural benefits for Scotland, but greater efforts are needed to realise its full potential. 
Stewart Cruickshank Songwriting Bursary  

The winner of the Stewart Cruickshank Songwriting Bursary is Jared Celosse , a young singer-songwriter residing in Glasgow with roots in Holland, England and the Czech Republic.

The judges felt his song 'New Orleans (Esca) ' was bursting with ideas and was an original, unexpected and evocative submission, adventurously written and produced.
Music Education in Scotland
TRACS , through TMF , is part of the Music Education Partnership Group ( MEPG ), which is currently campaigning for a coherent approach to instrumental music tuition in schools.

MEPG has agreed on guidance with CoSLA ( Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities ) for a common approach to Instrumental Music Services.

Guidelines include no charge for music tuition for children on free school meals or who are taking SQA music exams. It also recommends that, if charges are levied, the levels should be negotiated with all stakeholders.

There are several support organisations for music education in Scotland and councils should avail themselves of this resource to access and share good practice.

This is an early action from the recommendations in the recent What’s Going On Now? (WGON) report into music education in Scotland.
Traditional Arts at the Fringe
The Scottish Storytelling Centre is proud to showcase what it strives to do year-round in coordination with TRACS during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe , with a fantastic line-up of 22 opportunities to engage with creatives who are making traditional culture cool for the masses, allowing ownership and slamming stereotypes.

'an essential stop for anyone… the standard is always high, and the permanent theatre is one of the nicest venues on the Fringe.'
( British Theatre Guide )

From storytelling sessions evoking the myths of Scotland to a new music performance from BBC Radio 2 Folk award-winner  Rowan Rheingans , have a look at the wonderful programme and make sure the Centre is on your list this August!
Traditional Arts & Culture Scotland (SC043009) brings together the Traditional Art Forums of Scotland to provide a common platform and collective voice for Scotland’s rich cultural heritage, and to improve the knowledge, practice, development and advocacy of traditional arts in a contemporary world, making them more accessible to all.